Forced on the back foot by the Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday over the prime minister not greeting Muslims for Eid ul Fitr, the government clarified that it stood for equal respect for all faiths and that the PM did in fact wish Muslims on Eid. Here’s the actual transcript of the proceedings in the Lok Sabha.
Sudip Bandyopadhyay, TMC MP, Kolkata North: Madam, India stands for the principles of secularism, communal harmony and national integrity.… (Interruptions).
We must respect and keep faith in and respect to all other religions. But recently some evil forces of the country are trying to create communal tensions in different parts of the country which appears alarming to all of us.
A new government has come into power. Government of India, I think, should remain alert, cautious and vigilant to prevent communal tensions; otherwise safety and security of the common people of the country and the secular fabric of this vast country will be under threat. The government should rise to the occasion and assure the House.
Madam, what we found yesterday was that the hon. prime minister went and offered pooja in Nepal with 2400 kg of ghee. We are all happy to see itWe are all happy to see that.… (Interruptions).
Speaker: He is appreciating the prime minister … (Interruptions).
Sudip Bandyopadhyay: Madam, I appreciate it. … (Interruptions).
Speaker: He is not objecting to it. He is appreciating the hon. prime minister. Do you not want appreciation? Why are all these things happening? … (Interruptions).
Sudip Bandyopadhyay: Madam, I appreciate the steps taken by the hon. prime minister but it was equally expected that the prime minister should communicate Eid Mubarak to others also.… (Interruptions).
These are the common sentiments, ethos and feelings of the country. All castes and creeds, all sections of the people should be greeted with happy Vijayadashmi at the time of Vijayadashmi and Eid Mubarak at the time of Eid. Why is there such a difference? Let all should unite together to make the country’s ethos and philosophy a giant partnership. … (Interruptions).
Speaker: Shri M B Rajesh, Shri P K Biju, Adv Joice Goerge, Shrimati P K Sreemathi Teacher, Shri Jose K Mani, Shri P Karunakaran, Shri Bhagwant Mann and Shrimati Kavitha Kalvakuntla are allowed to associate with the matter raised by Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Baharampur): Madam, over the centuries, Indian civilisation has been preaching to the people of the world the concept of ‘live and let live’. …
M Venkaiah Naidu, minister for urban development, housing and poverty alleviation and minister for parliamentary affairs: Madam Speaker, I want to put the record straight what Sudip Bandyopadhyayji has said, this government believes in ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhava’.… (Interruptions).
The hon. prime minister visited Pashupatinath temple. He has also given his greetings to the whole Muslim community across the country. It has been widely published. I want to put it on record that we believe in ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhava’.
Image: Sudip Bandyopadhyay.